El Salvador Way
Stage 1: Payares - Campumanes
The first Asturian stage of the Camino del Salvador begins on the provincial border with León, near Arbas, and runs in its entirety through the territory of the Lena council, along 22.21 kilometers that, for the most part, they correspond to dirt and gravel tracks and paths (around 16 kilometers of the total), the rest of the itinerary being asphalt roads or road shoulders.
The route begins with a continuous descent that continues until reaching the town of Samiguel del Río, on the banks of the Valgrande river. Then begins an ascent that intensifies notably after passing the town of Vil.lar, the ascent that leads to the Los Acebos viewpoint is especially steep, although short. From this moment, there will be ascents and descents not very pronounced except in very specific points, such as the arrivals at Puente los Fierros and Campumanes.
At this stage there is a notable predominance of the natural landscape, especially at the beginning, which runs through the natural park of Las Ubiñas ??. Later you will pass through small towns and villages, which preserve examples of traditional architecture. This is the case of Samiguel del Río, Vil.lar, La Romíad’Arriba, Fierros or Erías, and larger towns such as Fierros and Campumanes, the final destination of the stage, in which the great building of the Revillagigedo palace stands out, with its neighboring medieval bridge, once used by pilgrims.
Historically, this was a road that was well traveled by pilgrims who from León turned north to pay homage to the relics preserved in the Oviedo cathedral and to win the jubilee that its visitors were granted annually. Near the beginning of the stage is located the collegiate church of Arbas, in which a hostel existed as early as the 12th century. Leaving this religious center behind, the transit through a mountainous environment began with respect to which many pilgrims of medieval and modern times left their impressions in writing, dominated by the sensation of cold, height and desolation of the landscapes, although some such as Bartolomeo Fontana highlighted , already in 1539, the beauty of the natural environment of Pajares, recalling at this point the verses of an old French pilgrimage song that said “Oh Asturias, beautiful Asturias, you are beautiful and you are also tough.”
There was a pilgrim hospital in the town of Pajares (aside from the route described in this publication but which is also part of the Camino officially declared a Site of Cultural Interest in Asturias), and the occasional refuge of pilgrims in the chapel is also documented. existing, of Our Lady of the Snows. Other hospitals existed in Las Puentes (Puente los Fierros), dedicated to San Bartolomé, in La Frecha and in Campumanes, the latter place of convergence of several of the roads that communicated Asturias with the Plateau and the end point of this stage.
The start of this route in Asturias occurs at the top of Payares, right on the border between the provinces of León and Asturias. Before, the route, coming from the nearby collegiate church of Santa María de Arbas, had run parallel to the national highway, next to a nave, after which a dirt and stone track was taken that turned right, arriving from this point to the provincial boundary.
Once in Asturias, you go down a slope for just under 400 meters. It is the so-called gap of La Calera, a small hill located north of the port of Payares. At this point there is no path traced as such, having to descend between rocks and meadows, through the very skirt of the mountain. Halfway through, you pass near a laundry room built in 1975.
Finally, after passing a gate, you come to the national road N-634, having to cross this road, continuing straight ahead along a stone track that leads, after about 60 meters to a new gate, flanked which begins a journey in descent, leaving a wash house on the left, known as the source of Casa Tibigracias. You are driving just below the building of the old Parador de Payares.
About 200 meters after the gate, you come to a meadow in a flat area, where several options arise to continue the path. Towards the right we continue towards the town of Payares, continuing the official path to the left.
Therefore, continue to the left, giving a first curve that later leads to another to the right, passing further on over the railroad tracks, near the La Perruna tunnel (on the left hand side of the Camino) and turning to the right, descending a dirt and stone track, flanked by scrub and meadows, with excellent views of the mountains of the Ubiñas massif.
You cross an area of holly, beech and birch trees, in the area known as the Quentu or Canto de los Muertos, then narrowing the track until it becomes a narrow dirt and stone path that descends steeply, in a route with many hairpin bends. through the places of Los Col.lao and La Fabariega, until reaching (about two kilometers after having passed over the train tracks) on a forest track, perpendicular to that of the march, in which there is a fork of roads. To the right we continue, along the track, towards the town of Payares, which has a pilgrims’ hostel.
In this publication, the option of continuing straight ahead along the path will be followed, in the direction of the town of San Miguel del Río, which is reached after approximately 2.4 kilometers.
Therefore, we continue along the dirt and stone track, immediately leaving a laundry built in 1966 on the right and, a little later, a set of cattle cabins, on the left, in the place known as Polación.
The descent continues, between trees ?? and good views of the mountains, finding below another cabin on a curve, in an area called Panizaliega, in which the road is already a wide track, with a surface of earth and stone, which crosses the small stream of La Llana by a concrete walkway, passing later next to meadows limited by wooden posts and wire, finally running parallel to the Valgrande river just before reaching the town of San Miguel, which is crossed by an asphalt road, passing next to the school building , after which one reaches the church, next to which a yew tree rises, and there is also a fountain. The cemetery is on the other side of the river, having to cross a bridge to reach it.
Continue along the road through the places of Veiga and Sabornín for about 600 meters until you reach a fork in the road. On the left we continue towards Santa Marina and Llanos de Somerón, an alternative route of the Camino, whose official route continues straight ahead at this point.
Continuing straight ahead, you continue along the road, flattening, until you reach the town of Villar de Pajares less than half a kilometer later.
- Related item: Villar de Payares
The official Camino borders this nucleus, continuing along the road. The nucleus can be accessed to visit the small chapel of San Tirso, inside which images of ¨ ?? are preserved, as well as popular votive offerings.
- Related item: Capilla de San Tirso
After leaving Villar de Payares behind, continue along the road for approximately 1.7 kilometers, between meadows, trees and mountain views, soon beginning an ascent that, after two very sharp curves, ends with the confluence of the national highway.
Then, continue along the shoulder of the road, to the left, reaching the Flor de Acebos viewpoint in 120 meters, located on a curve, to the left of the Camino, just above the road along which the Jacobean route had been running. , in its ascent to connect with the national highway. From this viewpoint you can see an excellent panoramic view of the town of Llanos de Somerón, opposite, on the side of the Carril mountain.
- Related item: Mirador de Flor de Acebos o del Río
Leaving the viewpoint behind, you continue along the national road for a little less than 700 meters, to deviate to the right along a track that starts from the vicinity of the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, which you pass by.
- Related item: Ermita de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves
After leaving the hermitage behind, you continue along a very steep stone track, which flanks the religious building through its apse, passing shortly after the paved road, for a few meters, and then becoming a path of earth and stone, between trees and bushes, with plot closures made of wooden stakes and wire flanking a good part of the itinerary.
Half a kilometer further on, you continue to the right at a fork in the road, ascending a slope until you reach another fork in the trails, where you take the one on the left, which starts next to a hut located at a lower elevation. A route then begins along a narrow dirt path, which in certain sections becomes of natural stone, sometimes losing the mark of the path on the ground. After a journey of less than 800 meters, you will reach the town of Romíad’Arriba.
- Related item: La Romíad’Arriba
The Way runs between the first houses of La Romíad’Arriba, passing in front of a wash house and then linking with the concrete track that articulates the town, along which it continues to the left, passing in front of the La Romía fountain .
- Related item: Fuente de La Romía
You continue, after the fountain, along the track, descending between the houses of La Romía until at the next curve, you turn to the right, continuing between some houses along a path that soon becomes a narrow dirt path.
Leaving La Romía behind, we continue along the dirt path, along a section in which the right side of the path is reinforced by a retaining wall made of stakes and wooden planks. It circulates through dense vegetation, reaching after about 350 meters a sharp curve to the right, through which the small Las Dorgas stream runs, which forms at this point (at the foot of Castiel.lu peak) a small waterfall , very picturesque, being marked by the buildings of two mills and with a wooden walkway through which the riverbed is crossed.
- Related item: Molinos y puente de Las Dorgas
After this point, you advance along the track, between trees, good views towards the back of La Romía, and some section of stone wall on the edges of the route, arriving after about 450 meters at the church of San Pedro Cabezón, located in a small plain where the cemetery, a bowling alley and a large yew tree are also located. The church is located in Peradiechina, the dividing place between the valleys that descend on both sides of Pico El Castiello, at an altitude of 790 meters. There is in this place today depopulated the tradition of some “golden bowls” that would have been found under the Castiello peak and that are linked to the aforementioned bowling alley.
- Related item: Iglesia de San Pedro Cabezón
The route continues, once past the church, to the right, along a concrete track that leads to the town of Naveo, whose first houses are reached 450 meters later.
- Related item: Naveo
You pass next to a first construction and just after you cross a footbridge over the Quintana stream, continuing straight ahead, along a narrow path that starts to the right, without penetrating the center of the town, which is at a lower level off the road, on your left.
We leave Naveo behind, following the stone track, which crosses a steep initial slope, between the houses located at the highest level of the town, then passing through a path of earth and stone, with paved sections. The road box at this point is very well defined, running between earth slopes, with specific points where there are stone walls and plot closures in adjoining the route, which occasionally has paved surfaces.
It continues, always in a tended ascent, passing later the road to be a very narrow dirt path, from which excellent views of the surroundings are obtained, including the increasingly distant temple of San Pedro Cabezón, or of the different existing towns. in this area. After a little less than a kilometer from the Cabezón exit, you come to a fork in the road, where you must opt for the one on the left, which soon passes by a stone block, with an elongated floor plan.
The road is now a dirt track that descends steeply, being at some points reinforced by steps in the ground to allow safer traffic.
For a few meters it joins a wider forest track, which is abandoned at the first detour that emerges, on the right, then returns to run along a very narrow path, which advances in a steep descent, between trees and dense vegetation, with some section in which the path is limited by stone walls. Only in the final section does the Camino widen and pass between stone walls, reaching a water reservoir after which the first houses in the town of Puente de los Fierros are accessed.
- Related item: Fierros
You descend to the center of the town along a concrete track, parallel to the train tracks and the national road. This track connects with the national road in a curve, having to cross that road then, to pass the path along a concrete sidewalk, parallel to the road and separated from it, along which the next 800 meters will be circulated. On this route you will pass by the houses of the town, then leaving a covered laundry on the right and then crossing over the Pajares river. For a few meters, you drive next to the supporting wall of the railroad tracks, a great engineering work from the end of the 19th century.
Finally you come to a crossroads, next to an old chapel dedicated to Saint Bartholomew, today integrated into a building.
- Related item: Capilla de San Barbolo
At this point you continue to the left. Going straight ahead, following the road, you reach the small heritage complex formed by a stone bridge and the Puente de los Fierros chapel in 250 meters, declared a site of cultural interest.
Returning to the crossroads, at it continue to the left, flanking the chapel of San Bartolomé and the two-storey house behind it, the path becoming a dirt path that begins a steep ascent, zigzag, up a hillside of abundant vegetation, passing through two wooden walkways and reaching a narrow track with the central section concreted that ascends to the town of Fresneo. You come to a crossroads, continuing straight ahead (to the right, forty meters away, the small chapel of this town is located).
The path leaves behind the last houses of Fresneo, then passes along a dirt track, sometimes very narrow, which flattens halfway down the hillside, running between trees and meadows, followed by not very intense descents and ascents, the crossing of small streams and the good views of the ¿? valley, to arrive 2.7 kilometers later (after having left a detour on the right that is not taken) to a few stone blocks located in the vicinity of the hermitage of San Miguel, near which is located a stone fountain-washhouse, on the right hand side of the Camino, in the place known as Barraca.
The route continues along the dirt path, which progressively widens, linking with other tracks and paths, always running through lush vegetation and, in the final section, between stone walls, meadows and isolated buildings. Without taking any of the detours that appear, you reach the Erías cemetery after a kilometer and a half (on the left hand side of the road, after a meadow), gazing at a good perspective of the town from this point, which is reached 250 meters later, by an already concreted track that leads to the center of this town.
- Related item: Erías
You come to a crossroads where you can take a detour to the left that leads to the Bendueños sanctuary. At this junction there is an attractive house with two floors on which a wooden gallery rises that protrudes from the lower floor of the building, hanging forming a kind of raised canopy.
- Related item: Casa con galería
The path continues straight ahead, passing by a large house with a shield, traditional stone constructions (one of them with a large semicircular oven attached to the house) and granaries. It is possible to deviate through the alleys that open on the right-hand side of the road to reach the church of San Claudio de Erías.
You go through the town and enter its upper neighborhood, ascending by a paved road that leads to the last houses of Erías, which you reach after ascending a very steep slope, in a place with splendid views of the town, with the frame of the Cantabrian mountain range in the background.
Leaving the last houses of Erías behind, we continue along a dirt path that ascends to the middle of the slope between meadows, until arriving, about 350 meters later, at a fork, where we continue to the right, initially along a dirt road. very narrow, which progressively widens, descending sharply, between trees and bushes. Further on, the path will be partly paved, delimited by stone walls at specific points, the descent being very steep until it reaches, after about 700 meters, the first buildings in the town of Campumanes, soon leading to the general road that crosses this nucleus, having to continue to the left.
The town is crossed by this road, equipped with the crossing of sidewalks and which will successively adopt the names of La Ferrería, La Vega and El Portalón, running between traditional buildings, some of which still retain the gates on the ground floor. and other more modern buildings, including an official promotion block from the Franco era. After about 300 meters, you reach a road junction in the center of town, this being the end of this stage.
- Related item: Campumanes